"A state of painful suspense"
Editorial in Clarksville Tobacco Plant, December 7, 1860.
The editor of the Clarksville Tobacco Plant hoped that a compromise to preserve the union might be possible, but he feared that division would be necessary to preserve slavery in the South. "The probable disruption of the best government on the face of the earth, the dismemberment of this glorious confederacy of sovereign States," he wrote, "is no trifling matter, and the patriot statesman will look well and anxiously about him for some less radical cure for existing evils before he resorts to this extreme remedy." Clarksville is located in Mecklenburg County, in the southern region of Virginia along the North Carolina border. In 1860, almost 62 percent of Mecklenburg's population lived in slavery. In the February 4, 1861 election for delegates to the state convention, Mecklenburg County voters indicated their general support for secession by overwhelmingly rejecting a proposal for a public referendum to ratify or reject secession, should the convention decide to secede.